Change is coming to Dozier, officials say
By John Frank, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
In Print: Thursday, March 11, 2010
TALLAHASSEE — With lawmakers questioning its
future, a top official with the Department of Juvenile
Justice made assurances Wednesday that change
is coming to the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys
"What we are seeing is a great deal of progress,"
said Rod Love, the department's deputy secretary
in a presentation to a House criminal justice
The brief remarks appeared to satisfy lawmakers
who asked no questions.
"Nothing has sent up any red flags," said Rep.
Sandy Adams, the committee chairwoman. "We are
continuing to monitor them."
The reform school is shrouded by allegations of
abuse and mismanagement dating back decades.
The facility has seen six superintendents forced
out in the previous eight years.
State officials are eagerly awaiting an outside
consultant's assessment and another quality
review after the facility failed an evaluation last
Love said preliminary indications show Dozier will
"pass and exceed the minimum requirements."
The final outcome is likely to weigh heavily on
lawmakers as they decide the future of the school.
A report prepared by Love said the current
capacity of Dozier is 103 and that the school's
budget is $10 million.
Gov. Charlie Crist supports the thorough review,
saying this week it may well be time to shutter the
Rep. Darryl Rouson, a St. Petersburg Democrat,
made a surprise visit to Dozier before the
committee meeting to see for himself the issues
faced by the school.
He left a chief cheerleader for keeping the facility
"I was very impressed with what I saw," he said in
an interview after meeting with some of the boys. "I
left there believing that what is occurring at Dozier
is a new day."
Times staff writer Waveney Ann Moore contributed
to this report. John Frank can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 224-7263.
[Last modified: Mar 10, 2010 08:54 PM]
[Edmund D. Fountain | Times (2009)]
The Florida School for Boys did not have fences in the
1950s and 1960s. As a result, boys would frequently run
away, but they were usually caught by guards, dogs or